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Service level agreement - Your insurance for providing quality EV charging
This blog is part two of our two part series in "how to setup your EV charging station", so you will get it built on a sound foundation. It’s all about getting your fundamentals right from the start, so your business can prosper from the day one when electric cars start rolling on your charging point.
You can read the part one here. In it we audit your business environment to see the state of your electricity infrastructure and understand the state of EV charging competition in your local area. And now in this post, we will discuss how you do the finishing touch in the charging station setup process and model your business for competitive growth in the long run. That you do by signing an SLA.
SLA, what is that?
So what is that, the SLA? SLA is also known as the Service Level Agreement.
It is the contract that you sign with the device manufacturer/supplier to make things easier for you. SLA is meant to help you with the EV charger maintenance, charger installing, and to guard you from possible hardware/software breakdowns. So, sounds good?
EV charging service level agreement (SLA) shields you from charger issues, when it is customized for your situation.
You can think of SLA as an insurance, that covers some additional ground as well. It protects you not only from charger failure, but also determines how the charger maintenance is done, who does it, how and when the chargers can/will be upgraded (SLA covers the entire EV charger life cycle). So, the significance of this paper is remarkable for any charging business owner. Basically, SLA should account for everything that has significance in your day to day charger usage and unfortunate random encounters your chargers may come a cross.
Then what do you need to look for in your Service Level Agreement to make it account for everything you need?
Service Level Agreement - What you want it to include?
Well, that’s a good question indeed! What do you want it to include? Well the short answer is everything, but that is not very helpful now is it? So let’s get more descriptive: it should include everything that you as the buyer, or the charger manufacturer as seller can “control”.
Meaning, for example if there is a risk of charger breaking down because of an internal hardware failure (which there is), and it is something that the hardware manufacturer can control (which they can), then you should include it in your SLA. This is to minimize the risk of EV charger breaking down in use. Because broken EV charger means downtime (and, downtime = revenue lost for you).
Additionally, it is important to determine in your SLA, how fast the EV charger manufacturer is required to react in case of hardware/software breakdown, and what they are required to do in such case (bring you a new charger and install it).
EV charging service level agreement protects you from many issues. Added shielding you get with a charger that lasts in any climate. Ensto Wallbox in the image.
But there are also situations, when you or the manufacturer doesn’t have the ability to prevent the unfortunate charger problems. If for example, it turns out that when you drive to work, and park your car on the spot where your charger used to be, you notice that aliens have abducted your EV charger with their anti-gravity ray (because EV chargers are cool), it can be quite hard to get a refund or replacement charger from your SLA counterpart. That of course because your charger manufacturer is not likely to have control over alien behavior.
A scenario like this of course is more than unlikely, but to put it another way. Hurricanes, or earthquakes are not that uncommon in certain parts of the world. So, SLA can’t cover everything (force majeure, or charger misuse), but it’s still very efficient shield against EV charging issues that may come across your path.
So remember, include all the areas of EV charging in your SLA, that you and the contract counterpart are able to “control”. But is there a general checklist that you can reference while checking if your SLA has everything you need?
Service Level Agreement checklist – See that your SLA has these
Yes, luckily there is a checklist for SLA. So, generally what are the things you should look for in your EV charging SLA? To get the best possible coverage that brings safety for your charger purchase, try to include at least these in your SLA:
LIST OF THINGS TO LOOK FOR IN YOUR SLA:
- Yearly servicing (Electricity check ups)
- Preventative maintenance (For example every 1000 charges)
- Local maintenance (How close to you should the maintenance team be located)
- Who controls pricing (If another company is providing the charging service, is the pricing up to you as location host, or can the charging service provider determine the price)
- Highest data encryption (Especially if you plan to integrate charging data with other customer data)
- Warranties (How long is the charger warranty, because after that you will rely solely on good maintenance)
- Option to change or upgrade EV charger (Product/software upgrade after certain number of years is determined in SLA)
- Ability to transfer charger to another location (Especially if you have multiple business locations, you might want to test where EV charging works best)
- Exit clause (Option to exit the contract when certain conditions are met)
So, there we are. EV charging Service Level Agreement checklist done! But one more thing.
Remember, always read your SLA carefully. Even that the list above is a great guideline, it’s still a guideline. Make sure to reference it, but make sure your SLA suits your individual situation and location. More help to audit your current situation in part 1 of this blog post series.
And now there is only one last step for you: to articulate your needs to your EV charging supplier and prepare your SLA with them. That way you can select your charger, get the SLA you want, and start serving EV drivers with electricity. How’s that done?
The last step in setting up your EV charging service
This last step is straight forward. Get in touch with EV charger manufacturer (I can personally recommend Ensto), describe your situation and request for a quote. You can make things easier by downloading our free Request for EV charging quote template. That way you can open up the discussion line to formulate your SLA and we will look into your situation together. Let’s see what kind of EV charger and SLA does your company need!
Download free Request for EV charging quote template to build your business on a solid foundation.